I brought this device a couple of weeks back as part of my idea to mount a tablet PC in my kitchen to stream music, video and radio from the net and home NAS.
At around £100 this Chinese manufactured tablet is designed to be a cheaper alternative, whilst retaining some of the key features, of the Nexus 7 , and on paper it seems to fit the bill.
Oh, and by the way, apparently Ainol is pronounced ‘I-Nol’ and NOT as we in the western world would usually pronounce it
So let’s get cracking with some quick specs
- OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- CPU: Quad Core 1.2Ghz Atm7029
- GPU: GC1000+
- RAM: 1GB DDR3
- Storage: 16GB
- Shell Material: Plastic
- Screen: 5 Point multi-touch capacitive 1280x800 high-resolution IPS screen
- Screen Size: 7 inch
- Gravity Sensor: Yes
- Visible Angle: 178°
- Dual Camera: Front 0.3 Megapixels - Back 2.0 Megapixels
- SD Card : Yes, up to 32GB micro-sd card supported
- Gravity Sensor
- WIFI: 802.11 b/g/n
Whilst the specs look good, and indeed it performs well enough for what I want it to do but it certainly isn't a Nexus 7 beater, indeed , when it comes to hardware features the lack of Bluetooth is a bit bizarre, however it isn't a slouch either. I would give you an Antutu benchmark result, however for some reason it bombs-out on the current firmware I'm running, but hopefully the 4.2.2 FW which is currently in beta will fix this. It also has the advantage of being able to natively rotate the screen in almost all apps unlike the Nexus 7 where you would need an app to do it.
The build quality of the device is very good too. It has a decent screen (no Gorilla Glass here though) and a plastic chassis with a back very similar to the dimpled Nexus 7. Also available on the outside are:
- Mini HDMI socket
- Micro-SD slot
- 3.5mm Headphone jack
- Micro USB
- Power charging socket
- Power button
- Volume up/down
- Home button
In everyday use it works just fine, and with a reported battery life of 5-7 hours use (with Wi-Fi) and several days on standby this ties in pretty well with my experience of the device.
In use the Ainol plays all of the games I've thrown at it to date, streams HD video and has a fully working Play Store – Some cheap tablets don’t have this btw – which means it does pretty much everything I brought it to do. So let’s finish with some pro’s and cons.
Good build quality
Excellent battery life
Amazing screen – really, it’s very, very good
The cameras are rather good given their small size
Micro SD card slot
It ships already rooted
You have to ensure you get the latest firmware for the best performance
You will have to upgrade firmware manually
Pre-installed Chinese apps you will have to 'dig' out of the files system. No malware detected though.
Takes a minute for Wi-Fi to wake up correctly is you have moved locations
Chrome runs a bit slowly – Use Dolphin Browser instead
All in all, I'm very happy with not having to fork out £200 for a decent usable 7” tablet. I'm also looking at perhaps getting a 10” device for the kitchen now as I don’t think 7” is going to cut it as a wall mounted device. It’s simply too fiddly to use like I intended. Instead I can use this as a travelling companion and for web browsing in the living room without having to break out a laptop.
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